Vimala Thakar RELATING TO THE WHOLENESS OF LIFE We are born to learn and to grow. Learn from whom?

Learn from the universe in the midst of which we are born. The reverence for life, the universal cosmic life around ourselves, is absolutely necessary to lay the foundation for the act of learning. We have lost the elegance of that reverence for life. We feel that the universe is created to serve the greeds of mankind, and we use the language of conquering nature. Science and technology are not enriching the inward spirituality of human life. The research attitudes and methodologies, on which science and technology are based, are not harmonious with reverence for life; they are founded on comparison, acquisition, mastery and therefore do not help humanity live in spiritual attunement to the universe, the wholeness of life. Life is not for conquering; conquest is not the purpose of life. We are not the masters of life, and the universe is not an object for our subjective pleasure. The universe is not ours for grabbing, acquiring, plundering. The myth that human beings are a superior race to all other non-human species has created a sick and rotten civilization. The universe is not created to serve the human race, to be dominated and conquered, to be plundered and looted. But we are murderers of nature, looters and plunderers. We have created a sorry affair. We are living in misery and chaos today because the organic relationship with the non-human existence has not been realized, experienced, understood. Our ignorance is taking its toll today in the form of confusion, violence, wars and the starvation of millions in many parts of the world. It is just ignorance and arrogance born of the ignorance. Through observation, communion we can enter into personal acquaintance with nature, responding to nature, receiving from nature only those things that are vitally necessary. But we must end the madness of exploiting nature to increase the needs and wants of human life. We must stop murdering the forests, scorching the earth, killing the animals and birds, to have places, palatial buildings and a nauseating variety of consumer goods. All of nature must be looking upon this unfortunate human race as enemy. We have behaved that way. The understanding of the organic relationship, the interrelatedness that we have with the rest of the universe will change the quality of our lives. It will change our relationship qualitatively with everything: articles of personal use, nutrition, clothes, houses that we build. But we must understand intimately our oneness with all the beings of the universe. The tree is a being, the plant is a being. We recognize that the bird is a being, but do we realize the water is a being, and the mountain has beingness? All are equal, one is not superior, inferior to the other. We are one of the beings, born to live and share life with all the non-human beings. Each being in the wholeness is related to every other being. The earth is related with the water, the water with the fire, the fire with the wind, and the wind with the sky. Even the mountains and the oceans are interrelated. All the parts of the body, the inner organs

contained in the body are interrelated. Wholeness of life, interrelatedness of all beings, human and non-human, is not an abstraction, not an idea, but a reality. When we are aware of the wholeness of life, the interrelatedness of all beings, not as an intellectual abstraction, but as the substance of our being, then we are receptive to learning from the wholeness, the interrelatedness When we have dropped the stupidity of arrogance that we as humans are superior, then we are open to learn from the wisdom of the universe. The universal life is the master and teacher supreme. If we have reverence for life and harmonious relationship with every being, everything that exists in the universe, then the mountains, the oceans, the trees, the animals, the stars, the seasons through which we move, all become our teachers. The attitude of learning from life opens our sensitivity, and the sensitivity blossoms in relationship to flowers, plants, birds, the soil. You don't trade with life as the master; that you are not, obviously. The manifestations of life are your companions; they are fellow beings, even the stone, the particle of dust. You don't know what quantum of energy the particle contains; you don't know how it is moving. All are beings contributing to the harmony and richness of life as you are contributing, or rather are meant to contribute, to the song of harmony and the dance of harmony that is going on in the cosmos, the cosmic dance of life. We learn in the relationship with the earth, water, fire, skies. We learn from them and behave with them receptively, gently, decently. We have forgotten the magnificence of decency, and the grace and gentleness that arrives with decency. We learn from the cycle of seasons; from spring, summer, rain, autumn, winter. They have a language of presence. Their presence, their movement is eloquent; they have something to tell us, to give us. We learn how to live with the heat of the summer, the wetness of the rainy season, and the crispness of the winter. We learn from the behavior of the plant world and the trees; we learn from the behavior of animals, the waters, the rivers. But instead of learning we are interested in acquiring and grabbing. We go on hunting for teachers when the master and the teacher supreme is everywhere within us and around us. In order to learn from nature, you must move out of the house, the apartment and go outside, sit under trees or visit a farm or a field, being with the space uncluttered by objects purchased and owned by you, so the sense of "me" and "mine" has no scope to enter into your perception. The perception is freed from the sense of the "me" and the "not-me," from "yours" and the "mine." Spending as much time as possible with nature, with the emptiness of space is vitally necessary to free the consciousness from the sense of ownership, acquisition and from ego-centered activities. The way we live today, the style of our living obliges us to spend our time inside the house or office with objects, gadgets, machines. We are always surrounded by the four walls of a building and manmade objects, created with a purpose. We are dealing with objects most of the day. The more advanced a country is scientifically and technologically the more time is spent with machines and gadgets and the less time with human beings and nature. And this we call progress. We surround

ourselves with all kinds of machines, use them, live with them, we give in to compulsions that the machines create for us and our sensitivity becomes benumbed. When you are always surrounded by objects and dealing with objects, you are not aware of the space surrounding you. The so-called emptiness that surrounds you is a part of your organic being, and you are an organic part of that emptiness, that space. When you open your eyes, you see the objects, move in relation to them, use the space, but you never look at the space, the emptiness. You have no time to look at the skies, the sun, the moon, the trees, the birds. One says to inquirers who are interested in discovering a different way of life and consciousness, please spend some time in personal acquaintance with nature, with the totality. Observe the behavior of the mountains, the river, the skies, the sun, the moon, the planets and their interdependence, their action and interaction, their responses to each other’s movements. Watch the interrelatedness of the earth and skies and the trees. Become acquainted with the movement of the seasons, the cycle of the seasons and how they affect each of the creatures, the elements of nature. Notice the behavior of the earth in producing fruits and vegetables, the crops. Become personally aware of how the interrelatedness, the wholeness affects your being, what it does to each layer of your being. We are not outside the universe, seeing the universe from a distance, but we are right in the midst of it. We belong to this totality. Do we see the grandeur of our inheritance? Do we appreciate the beauty in this unity of life? We are born into the wholeness, and it is our responsibility to live in it, with it. We have to live in cooperation with one another as expressions of the total, indivisible, non-fragmentary, homogeneous wholeness of life. Do we see the implications of this awareness? If we see the interrelatedness as a fact, if we see the unity and the oneness of life as a fact and not a theory, then we can no longer create enclosures around ourselves; we can no longer allow the center of the "I" the separative, divisive ego, to isolate the being from its true relationship to the totality. We do not live in awareness of the totality, the interrelatedness of all life; we live in experience of divisions, boundaries isolation. We use acquisition of material goods, knowledge and experience to make separations, divisions, between the "mine" and the "not-mine." The ego and not the totality is the master of our lives, the regulating and governing agency. The ego would not like to give up this mastery. It wants to hold on to its small pleasures, its acquisitions, ambitions, desires, images. It has become callous, because of acquisitive tendencies and ambitions, and is indifferent to everything that cannot be collected. Ego-consciousness has no reverence for life. It would like to conquer, plunder, loot the natural world, and the idea of having reverence for a stone, a blade of grass, drops of water seems absurd to the ego. When awareness of the oneness of life dawns upon the heart, there is a different quality to the being; there is relaxation of the tight hold of the ego-consciousness. If one sees the divinity, the mysterious divinity of the interrelatedness, the constant action and interaction between everything that exists and lives and moves around us, then obviously that awareness will become the governing agency of our lives, not the ego. The separative, divisive ego, tortured by the urge for securing, enclosing itself in the walls: of

its own knowledge, experience and conditioning will no longer be at the center. All the knowledge, experience, inheritance will no longer have the authority over behavior, and this the ego doesn't like. By tradition, by convention, it has been the master; now it will be pushed into a corner. If the awareness of the oneness, the totality, the unity of life is accepted unconditionally, and the ego does not resist, something beautiful happens to the being. The awareness has a marvelous effect upon a human being. Have you noticed the organic intelligence contained in your bodies? Have you noticed the movement of the intelligence? Every cell has intelligence. The awareness of the totality and the unity of life acts upon all the cells of your body, on every drop of plasma, on the marrow of your bones. And the organic intelligence expresses itself in all of daily living, daily relationships. The dimension of your life changes. Instead of the separative, divisive, closing in activities of the 'l' consciousness, there is opening and receptivity. If the body is not too pampered or too tortured, if you have been careful with the body, then the body begins to respond to the care and concern. It has its own intelligence which operates. It tells you what is agreeable to it, it brings you in choiceless relationship with food, with sleep. It tells you what kind of clothes will be comfortable and convenient for it you form a choiceless relationship with your clothes. All of daily living which was once controlled by the ego, is now guided by the organic intelligence. There is a potential within each of us to move from the psychophysical to the nonpsychological level. There is a potential to transcend the self-conscious energy. It is the birthright of every human being. The self-conscious energy is the dimension in which we live, but through understanding we are transported into another dimension where the energy is not self-conscious, it is all-conscious. We move from the realm of knowledge to the realm of awareness, from the realm of assertion and effort to the realm of effortless faith. When there is the awareness of the totality of life, the divine interrelatedness of everything, the psyche is in the realm of non-duality. On the mental level we are in the field of duality. The moment we open our eyes there is the "me" and the "not-me." We divide life that is how we have been trained to operate. The duality conceived and constructed by the mind is supposed to be the essence of life. We do not look upon this division, this duality, and the tension of duality as something constructed by the mind; we feel that there is duality in life. The myth explodes when we are in the realm of awareness and understanding, and we perceive the non-duality. Awareness does not divide life into the "I" and the "thou," the "me" and the "non-me." When we live in awareness we perceive life as a whole, and everything, everyone as organic parts of the whole. When we see that life is one, there can't be any selfishness, there can't be any urge for security, because there is no fear. Our perception changes, and therefore, the quality of our behavior with other people changes. In reverence for all life, we relate to others with care, concern, gentleness. The awareness makes the person a harmonious whole within, and what you call love and compassion flow from the life of such a person. The human race has been dreaming of such human beings, who have equipoise within and equibalance outside, and a society

created by such fearless, harmonious members. A society created out of such individuals will be harmonious because society is an extension of our beings. The fiber, the texture of society is woven out of our actions, interactions, relationships. Because there is tension, conflict, disorder within, because our relationships are only efforts at mental level trying to dominate one another or cling to one another, there is misery, chaos and anarchy in society. But when the mind has no power to dictate, regulate, mold, we are in harmony with ourselves, and in peace and communion with others. And that's what we want, we need desperately, new human beings for a humane society. We must replace the barbaric society we have today with a society in which human beings live in reverence for life, in awareness of the totality, the divinity; and love and compassion for all the creatures, the beings - instead of ego-centered exploitation - become the reality.

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